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Brooke and Jake’s Moab Wedding
Brooke and Jake got married by planning an all-day adventure in Moab, Utah for October – the thing is, they reached out in July! So, in just 3 months these two planned an epic wedding day that took them through some of Utah’s most gorgeous areas. Brooke and Jake wanted to do it all, and they did – sunrise and sunset in the stunning red rock desert landscape.
I like to call Moab an “adult’s playground,” because the towering sandstone features, vast dramatic valleys, and exciting-to-traverse slot canyons bring out the child-like joy of exploring in all who visit! It’s impossible to adventure out into the Moab desert without a sense of exploration that “anything is possible” here. For Brooke and Jake, their Moab wedding was also the result of multiple plans that fell through – the uncertainties of 2020 made them reschedule and then cancel their original wedding plans. Rather than accept defeat, they took the opportunity to make the most out of their Moab elopement – we explored two different national parks and even some unmarked BLM land outside of town.
Sunrise in Arches National Park
We began the day before sunrise in Arches National Park– we could just barely make out the shapes of the sandstone arches we knew were visible from the trailhead where we met. Once they’d gotten ready and we headed out onto the trail, the sun began to rise quickly. The formations towering above us went from faint outlines to glowing sandstone behemoths turning a brighter red with each moment. It was a beautiful morning with clear, bright blue skies. It doesn’t matter how many times I visit, the beauty of Moab is overwhelming!
We explored throughout Arches and had an amazing morning! When the sun got higher and began casting a harsher light, we took a break for a few hours during the hottest part of the day. When we reconvened in the afternoon it was to explore Canyonlands National Park, a totally different landscape than the one Brook and Jake got to experience at sunrise. Canyonland’s famous features don’t take you higher – they take you deep into the valley floor! From where we stood above the cliff sides, we could see the famous 4×4 tracks that take daring jeep drivers hundreds of feet below.
After meandering around Canyonland’s cliff sides and marveling at the beauty woven into the layers of rock millions of years old, we left the parks and ventured down an unmarked road into BLM land. Nearly 2 million acres around Moab are designated as BLM land (Bureau of Land Management land), which basically means it’s cared for by a different government office than the national parks. BLM land is multi-use, and around Moab that means there are hundreds of miles of 4×4-only jeep trails that can take you out into less populated areas of the desert.
We took one of these bumpy, unmarked roads in rented jeeps and arrived at a totally remote canyon overlook. We got there in time for sunset and it was just amazing to witness a place so beautiful while having it entirely to ourselves – we didn’t see a single person who wasn’t a part of our group the whole time we were out there! It’s unique to find yourself alone these days in beautiful natural environments, which just made this moment even more special for Brooke and Jake.
They said their vows here, near the edge of the cliff (but not too close) while the sunset turned the multi-colored desert rocks into a glowing orange backdrop. In the valley below was a massive sandstone tower that had been worn away over an unimaginable length of time – sandstone tells a particularly interesting story of the natural history in Utah because it’s a soft material that is easily cracked or worn by rains and winds.
Brook and Jake shared teary-eyed heartfelt vows, which was such an honor to witness. After such an epic day, witnessing so much beauty, it was the perfect cap on the experience for them to read personal vows trying to encompass their feelings of love for life and each other. While they performed their ceremony, a private chef was preparing an incredible vegan spread for them. Chef Kent was amazing! This was some of the best food I’ve ever tasted – and it was all vegan! If you didn’t know it was possible to have vegan fondue, now you do and your life is better for it.
Dancing in the Dark
It was blue hour when they began eating and totally dark when they had their first dance. To photograph the moment, we turned on the headlights of their jeep. As they danced, they kicked up dust into the air – the light beams from their jeep bounced off the dust in the air and the effect was magical! They danced to their favorite song – Conversations in the Dark by John Legend. We still had this whole place to ourselves, and as the sky got even darker the stars became brilliantly visible. There was zero light pollution way out here in the middle of nowhere, so we turned off all the lights and took some photos with the stars.
Moab will always be one of my favorite places to suggest when couples want an epic desert wedding experience. All of Utah is beautiful, and if you’re looking for a stunning place to elope, there is something here for everyone. But Moab will always have a special place in my heart – from the dramatic otherworldly red stone arches, to the canyons carved deep into the earth, this place is something truly special.
Are you ready to begin planning your own elopement or desert wedding? Reach out!